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TJ

Happy New Year!

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Finally, the new year is here! We look ahead to it as a year of opportunity and amazing achievement. Wherever you may be in the world reading this right now, hopefully you are entering 2015 full of optimism, hope and passion. A lot has been said about passion and its influence on us. Here are a couple of quotes from some famous people.

“Once something is a passion, the motivation is there” – Michael Schumacher, legendary F1 driver

“Without passion, you don’t have energy; without energy, you have nothing” – Donald Trump, billionaire businessman

“Passion is the genesis of genius” – Tony Robbins, author and life coach

There is absolutely no doubt that we will need to be fired up with passion and energy if we are to make anything of the year that lies ahead. If we are unexcited about life, nothing will really hold any value for us and we’ll probably just stay stagnant. We all know what happens to stagnant water. It starts to stink. Having said that, in everything, there must always be balance.

As 2015 begins, we need to remember that it’s not the change in calendar dates from 31 December to 1 January that will change our lives. The balance lies in understanding that our passion needs to be mixed in with disciplines like hard work, consistency and perseverance. If we leave it to passion alone, we may find many dreams unfulfilled and find ourselves disappointed come 31 December 2015. Benjamin Franklin said this: If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins.

Go ahead and take out that gym contract in the new year but let consistency and diligence push you to your fitness dream when the excitement of the first month has died down. If you count on emotion and passion alone, you won’t make it.

May the year ahead be amazing for you. Happy New Year!

What Is Love?

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It’s an age-old question and one which makes us feel something deep inside of us – what is love? In our high tech world of information that is available at our fingertips whenever we want it, isn’t it amazing that there are certain things that a search engine can’t satisfy? Love is one of the great mysteries of the human experience. At one time or another along the journey of life, love is something we will search for, grapple with, revel in and sometimes doubt and question. It doesn’t matter if you are a romantic and idealist poetry student in university or you are cold-hearted, merciless killer, something within us all yearns for love.

For some, the definition of love is that it is a feeling. A man sees a woman walking across the street and senses an attraction rising in him. For some reason, he starts to believe that he loves her. Is that love? Others define love as a decision. A woman in an abusive relationship bites the bullet, sacrificing her life possibly for the sake of her kids, and decides she will take the punches and the hurtful words from the man who was supposed to look after her. She will love, no matter what. Is that love then?

What is love? Often, we hear people use terms like “looking for love” or make the declaration on rooftops, mountaintops and all kinds of -tops that they have “found love”. If love is something we can look for and then find in people, why does the slightest wind that blows cause us to break up and look for it elsewhere? Surely love, if it is something of real value, shouldn’t be subject to our moods and whims. We humans are fickle beings, aren’t we? Isn’t it sad that even the things that are supposed to be above the level of our inconstant nature are also reduced to fads like last year’s hottest pop album, trending hashtags, selfies or this summer’s must-wear accessories?

There must be more to love than this.

We believe in love as an eternal thing – something that transcends human understanding. Because it is such an indescribable force, it can’t possibly originate from man’s philosophies or his clever ideas. Dare I say it, love does not come from man. Perhaps you’re longing for something deeper in your life right now. You might be reading this now and be tired of the fad-style approach to love in your life.

We want to share with you the simple story of a love that has lasted generations and still has so much more to give to everyone who accepts it. As we all celebrate love as the core of Christmas is all about, we want you not to forget the truly loving one after whom Christmas is named. We invite you to click on the link below and hear more about the love we at 1Africa believe in.

Anne Kansiime Worst Driver

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We all need some laughter in our lives and that’s why, every week, we at 1Africa endeavor to give you some tickle for your tummy in our On The Lighter Side feature.

Today’s post is as sadly true as it is hilarious. With so many people already hitting the roads to visit loved ones this holiday season, we thought that something to do with driving might just hit the right spot. Courtesy of Anne Kansiime, Africa’s queen of comedy, here’s something that we probably can all relate to on our roads. Kansiime’s been making a name for herself this year and is definitely someone to look out for in 2015. Read up on a feature we did on her here.

After checking out this vid, just one word of advice from us – don’t follow her example, please.

Do You Feel Alone This Christmas?

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It’s that time of the year again. Christmas time is upon us. Without a doubt, in most malls around Africa and all over the world, it’s pretty much a given that Christmas tunes are coming through those little overhead speakers and changing the atmosphere everywhere. All around us on billboards and in TV ads, we are bombarded by images of family, happiness and gift-giving. This is supposed to be the most joyous time of the year.

Not so for everyone.

Perhaps you are one of those for whom this season is not all that it’s advertised to be. Instead of making you feel excited, the bells jingling all around you are driving you further within yourself and up the wall. You may even be in a room full of family and friends right now but still can’t understand why you feel so disconnected from everything.

Do you feel alone this Christmas?

There are times in life where we come to a place where our expectations are unmet and all hope seems to be lost. We often enter new calendar years with the feeling of “This is going to be my year!” and we all have dreams that whatever we couldn’t do in the previous year will be done this time around. Yet, as time passes, that confidence starts to fade and it all starts to look like a straight, uninspiring line again.

The festive season really should be a time of celebration and gratitude. Yet, it would be unfair to think that we all have it easy and are partying all the way. This post is a reflective one where we’re saying, “We know what it’s like to feel alone sometimes”. It’s quite possible that you occasionally check out our content here on 1Africa, but it’s also possible that you happened to come across this post and had never even heard of 1Africa. In the midst of all the pomp and noise, you might be feeling extremely anxious and all alone. This post is for you.

Life is not really about what we see on the outside. The human race is brilliant when it comes to putting up appearances and looking like we’ve got it made and yet, in actual fact, we die slowly and quietly from the hurt, pain, rejection and loneliness that is a part of the human condition.

If you feel alone this Christmas season, we want to hear from you. We invite you to click on the link below and check out the video where we hope you can discover a message about someone who cares deeply about you. Even if you just want to ask a question or just chat, we can promise that someone from our team will respond to you.

Why We Really Love D’Angelo’s New Album

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Soul music legend D’Angelo has a new album out as of 6am Central African Time (midnight EST), today the 15th of December 2014. Quite a dramatic opening line… but why? Well, apart from the fact that D’Angelo is in many ways one of the central players in the rise of neo soul music and a true artist in every sense of the word, the new album entitled Black Messiah, is D’Angelo’s first studio offering in 14 years. Yep, you heard right… 14 YEARS. I don’t know about you but it’s not many people that can keep anticipation going for as long as that without releasing new material. D, as some like to call him, has been through a great deal over the past while – including drug addiction and issues with the law – and many didn’t think he’d have what it takes to bring out something new and fresh.

I had a chance to listen to Black Messiah just a few hours after its release and, I must say, it’s definitely not anything like his previous two albums Brown Sugar or Voodoo. Even those two couldn’t be more different from each other. And, for me, that’s what makes D’Angelo a standout vocalist and musician – always innovating and never content to stay in the same place creatively. Too many of us seem content to be handed the same ol’ same ol’ year after year but, thankfully, D is one of the very few that goes against the grain and actually respects his audience.

If you are fortunate enough to live in a country where Spotify is available (or know the tricks involved to hook it up in places where you shouldn’t be able to – naughty, naughty), you can stream the album there or you can purchase it on iTunes.

So… here’s the part where we let you know in very simple terms why we really love D’Angelo’s new album. First of all, it’s just really monumentally amazing, well-crafted soulful music. More than that though, it offers us living proof that we should never count anybody out for as long as they have life in them and it show us again that, if we try hard enough and have faith, we can rise again no matter what we’ve been through. Here’s to you, Michael Eugene Archer.

Big Up Africa: Portia Modise

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Some fascinating news seems to have slipped the African news radar over the last couple of weeks. Let’s rephrase: maybe someone reported it but we at 1Africa sure wish they’d made more noise about it! This week on our Big Up Africa feature, we are honoring Portia Modise, a striker for the South African women’s soccer team, known by adoring fans as Banyana Banyana.

Portia’s claim to fame is huge. She recently won the South African Sports Star of the Year Award at a glitzy ceremony in Sandton, a really posh and affluent part of Johannesburg, South Africa and, with the accolade, a juicy cash prize of 1,000,000 South African Rands (that’s about USD87,850 by today’s estimates). She is the first woman to take home this award and, as if that’s not enough, is also the first African soccer player to score 100 goals at international level. Not the first African woman, the first African player. Period.

Not only is she is a champion on the sports field; she’s a sweetheart off it too. Portia has said publicly that she wants to give part of her award winnings to women’s football in South Africa. If this little write-up hasn’t endeared you to Portia Modise just yet, her interview below with Morning Live’s Leanne Manas will do the trick. We definitely need more people as humble, hardworking, passionate and full of faith in the public sphere as Portia and we want to salute her today. We’re thoroughly inspired.

How Did We Get In This Mess?

The abuse of women and children is an extremely serious matter and one which deserves attention.

We’ve been taking you through this year’s commemoration of the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children with a series of questions aimed at challenging us all, at various levels, to do what we can not to accept abuse. To those who have experienced some form of abuse, we have offered a word of encouragement and asked you to believe that there is hope.

Interestingly, I sat in a barbershop with a few men over the weekend and one guy narrated a story of a friend of his (let’s call him B) who had beaten his wife just the day before. He seemed to think that there was justification for the beating because the wife wouldn’t stop accusing B of something he didn’t do. “Women are difficult sometimes”, the guy declared proudly. Clearly, we have a massive problem on our hands..

16 days are coming to an end and, now that the curtain is coming down on this year’s campaign, we are asking our final question. For us, this is the most important question of this 16 days campaign because it contains a message that forms the core of who we are as 1Africa: How did we get in this mess?

If this video has resonated with you in some way and stirred you to action, please click ‘Continue’ on the pop-up after this post to walk this journey with us. If you think it could challenge someone you care about to consider his/her own situation and actions, please share this post with them and have the conversation. We cannot sit back and watch society rot away while we do nothing. We may not be able to change things in parliament or in huge corporations but we can certainly do something significant – particularly as men – in our homes!

Why Lie About It?

There’s a well-known kids’ story from Aesop’s Fables. It’s called The Boy Who Cried Wolf and it has been used through the ages as a tale to caution children – and everybody, actually – against lying. In this fable, a little shepherd boy alarms people in a village nearby by yelling out that a wolf is attacking his flock, yet it’s not true. When a wolf really does attack, the villagers are so fed up with his lies that they completely ignore him. The sheep – and the boy too, depending on which version of the fable you read – are devoured by the wolf. The moral at the end of the story is “this shows how liars are rewarded: even if they tell the truth, no one believes them”.

Though this story has generally been told to children, it’s quite interesting that the truths it holds are relevant to adults too. Sad as it is, there are grown up people who lie about things that shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Though cases of false accusations of rape and abuse are few and far between, they happen and shouldn’t be ignored. It’s already bad enough that there are people who really do abuse women and children. Those who lie about it when it has never happened are, in some way, making a mockery of the issue and disrespecting those who have been abused and are having to deal with the aftermath of traumatic experiences.

In as much as we are making a call to those who abuse others to stop doing so, we also would be making a pretty big omission if we were to keep quiet about those who try to abuse the system and ruin it for others. Lying about abuse is, in itself, a form of abuse!

Drake Christmas album on the way?

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There’s a rumor doing the underground rounds that Canadian multiple award-winning rap artist Drake will be releasing a Christmas album in time for this year’s festivities. The name: December 25th. Now, that’s something. It’s not often that we hear about dedicated Christmas albums from the hip hop royals – ever. With the exception of individual – and very rare – tracks like Run-D.M.C’s Christmas In Hollis from way back in 1987 (we’ve embedded the video for your viewing pleasure right here), there isn’t much in the way of wholesome, family-around-the-fire Christmas rap these days.

So, if it is true that Drizzy has a whole Christmas album on the way, things could get very interesting. The questions that immediately come to my mind: what kind of themes are we likely to hear on such an LP? Drake is known for a very dark, cinematic and down-tempo sound, courtesy of his creative partnership with friend and producer, Noah “40” Shebib. Christmas, on the other hand, is supposed to be a light, cheery and up-tempo affair, right? It really gets you thinking what this album will be about. As a concept album, it could be interesting though. Apparently, some of the tracks we may hear are December 25th, No Gifts, and How Could You, Mr. Grinch?

Personally, I’m not convinced the rumors are true. In all my research, I’ve pretty much only come across one or two low key sites that talk about this ‘forthcoming’ Christmas album and I haven’t seen any hints even on Drake’s official site. Even if it were to be a surprise album, I don’t know of an artist or company that’s been able to successfully keep a secret in our leak-crazy world these days. We’ll have to wait and see, won’t we?

Do you think the Drake Christmas album rumor is true? If so, what are you expecting to hear? Hit us up in the comments section!

Be Safe On The Roads This Christmas

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One of the stories making waves right now is a video of a freakish high speed car crash in which a man is flung from a convertible BMW on the N2, a major intercity highway in South Africa. This crash happened in Cape Town recently and, since then, social and mainstream media has been buzzing with posts and re-posts of the video. It has now emerged that the man who was thrown from the speeding car, local actor Thabang Sidloyi, has since died from injuries sustained.

It always seems an opportunistic thing, in a sense, to use a moment like this – a family’s personal tragedy, as a matter of fact – to make certain observations. At the same time, we all know that an endless list of wise men have said over time that a big part of being smart  is to learn from the mistakes of others. Those of us left alive have a few things to think about as the end of 2014 approaches.

The festive season is here and many people will use the opportunity to travel to spend time with loved ones. For those driving and making use of the roads, please don’t be selfish. Consider others and don’t do things that will endanger your life, the lives of the people you may be traveling with or those of the people you share the roads with. Even if you don’t value your own life, respect the fact that others want to stay alive. Do your best to ensure that your vehicle is in order and isn’t a ticking time bomb waiting to explode. Wear your seatbelt. Be safe on the roads this Christmas.

Apart from festivity, Christmas should also be a time of reflection. We all want to make it into the new year and achieve our dreams but we should also always be conscious that our lives aren’t in our hands. As much as old people die, young people die too. Thabang was only 27. I’m pretty sure he had big dreams and wanted to go much further in his career in the entertainment business. This trailer of the movie he was most known for and in which he is one of the lead actors, is evidence of the fact that this was a young man chasing his dream.

Sadly, his life has come to an end.

At 1Africa, we love to celebrate life and who we are as young Africans. But we also believe that the enjoyment of life makes little sense outside of understanding the one who has given us that life. We are passionate about connecting with him and want that for our readers and everyone who comes across our content. As the festive season approaches, remember that life belongs to no man and use this season both to celebrate the blessings of family and friendship but also use the time to think about our lives. We never know when our time will be so let’s pursue a relationship with God while we have the opportunity.

The video pop-up at the end of this post will tell you a little more about what we’re talking about. Check it out.

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